International Women’s Day | May The Woman Be Celebrated Every Day, Everywhere!

“Women’s Day (WD), originally called International Working Women’s Day, is marked on March 8 every year. In different regions the focus of the celebrations ranges from general celebration of respect, appreciation and love towards women to a celebration for women’s economic, political and social achievements. More…”

Close to home and my heart, 8th of March is very special. Li’l Z is turning 4 today – the fairy above who’s always trying to soar high! Time does fly very fast. Each day I realise that in no time the Z-Sisters would turn into young ladies. I am constantly worrying about the world they are growing up in. I want them to grow up into emotionally and physically  strong, independent and compassionate human beings. To be aware but not wary of the world. This post is dedicated to all the women who have been mentioned in my blog. There are many more who are yet to be mentioned. Some of the women live in a world far away from the the airconditioned comforts of our homes. And a few of them have been women who’ve been in my life. To start with…

The Abandoned Women Amidst Many Prayers | Pashupatinath Temple, Kathmandu, Nepal

These are women who have been abandoned by their families are just waiting for their final call. Their only wish is to die while waiting in the Mahasthan Ghar on this scared premise so that they can go to heaven. Read more…

Innocence In Their Eyes, Joy In Their Faces | Tharu Village, Chitwan – Nepal

I was confronted with the realisation that there was no difference between Li’l Z and a Tharu child. It is sheer destiny that Li’l Z was not born in the Tharu village, running around tourists, totally bare-feet and perfectly happy to be ‘in the camera’ waiting for some random smiley stickers coming her way. I also came face-to-face with the stark reality that plagues many Asian countries – ‘the family wants at-least one boy!’ Read more…

Notun Gurer Payesh/Traditional Bengali Rice Pudding with Jaggery & My Dida

Payesh or the traditional Bengali Rice Pudding also brings in lots of memories of my childhood, specially Dida, my maternal grandma. I have been trying to understand the psyche of a woman whose only demonstration of love for her seven children and their children was through cooking. Read more…

Pickles | Mother (-in-law) Of All Pickles!

Ma, as I lovingly call my Mother-in-law (left), is fascinated by recipes. She collects recipes – from magazines, newspapers, from television. She doesn’t like cutouts or clippings, she loves organising and segregating them into different notebooks – writing them down as she collects them. At the point of writing this post, Ma‘s shelf had  15 bottles of Pickles – fat bottles, thin bottles, small bottles, large bottles, square bottles, round bottles, plastic containers, glass containers, tin containers – all containing Pickles. Sweet Pickles, sour Pickles, spicy Pickles – pickles of all kinds. Carrots, Mangoes, Gooseberry, Garlic, Capsicum, Olives, Limes etc – these are just a few of the fruits and the vegetables that have been pickled by Ma.

I want to share the story of her pickles with all my readers, far and wide. That’s the only way I can do justice to the tremendous effort she has taken to make all these different kind of pickles. For her, its labour of love. Toder jonyo!/All for you guys!’ she always says. Yes Ma, we know that. Read more…

Momos in Tiretti Bazar | The Last Chinese Remnants in Kolkata!

Athough I wish a better future for all the Chinese migrants who used to throng this Bazar once upon a time who have ‘gone abroad’, at times I wish if time had stood still then Tiretti Bazar would still look like what my earlier memories recall it as… To anyone who’s visiting Kolkata, do visit the lone Aunty of Tiretti Bazar to have her incredible Momos, Dimsums and Paos – before she too decides to ‘go abroad’! Read more…

Mums Who Share @JBR

All my associations – with people, places or moments start with the kitchen. This was no different. It was almost 2 years back that my association with Mums Who Share began. A small email from a good friend initiated me into a group of Mums who would cook food in their kitchens and go and distribute the food among the construction workers in a pre-fixed construction site every Thursday mornings. Along with home cooked meals the workers would also get Pita Breads, chilled juices, one fruit like apples, oranges or bananas, biscuits, fruit yoghurts etc. ‘We cook, We Give, We care’ bragged these Mums and they did exactly that – they cooked, they gave and they shared! Read more…

Rasgulla Macapuno On TV & Shubho Bijoya to all!

In the month of May last year I had written a post – Rasgulla Macapuno – When a Filipina Turns Bong! A fusion recipe on Rôshogolla/Rasgulla as a tribute to my my Lady Friday (LF) without whom my endless photographic sessions on food experiments would never have materialised. LF hails from Bikol, a region in Phillipines which is known for it’s spicy fare. Filipino food is cooked on a regular basis in our kitchen along with traditional Bengali or we end up cooking some Bengali Fusion food. This post also talks about Reem and the changing face of the new generation of Emirati women. This was aired in Dubai One for a Ramadan Special episode. Read more…

If staying with a person from a different culture for a long time doesn’t inspire us, we must be devoid of all emotional sensibilities. The real essence of living in a city like Dubai is that for a Filipina who’s turned into a Bong, there is a Bengali me who’s turned into a Filipina!

A Tale of 2 Cities and Naru/Coconut Jaggery Truffles and Remembering My Thakuma

Each summer has the same story. The months of July and August are spent in Kolkata – when the Z-SISTERS are off  from school for two long months. The Z-SISTERS and I, the three of us, make Kolkata our summer base. I call this the period of my Summer Hibernation. At this time of the year, the date palm trees lining the streets of Dubai at this time of the year are filled with dates which brings a flashback of my childhood in Kolkata… the connection being dates, dates syrup and traditional Bengali sweets – Gurer Naru, which I introduce my little ones as Coconut Jaggery Truffles! Naru takes me back to my Thamma or my paternal grandmother would distribute her whole year by staying amongst seven of her kids – 5 sons and 2 daughters (yes, this was before the concept of family planning came in India!). That would translate into one to one and a half months at each of her child’s place. We would eagerly wait for our turn to come and would pray that her stay at our home coincides with our school holidays. And this period would be my earliest summer hibernations. Read more…

Cuppa-Corn Sweet Yellow Moments 

The fondest food moments are those where the experience and the journey to create these moments are more memorable than the food itself.  Cuppa-Corn (or the traditional Cup-A-Corn) made by the Z-SISTERS (my sous-chéfs – Big Z, aged 8 years and Li’l Z, aged 3years 4 years) took me to my childhood fantasy – unlimited Cup-A-Corns without having to ask Mom for money. I wish they could also churn out pink Candyfloss with such ease. But again, who said that was impossible? Read more…

Okay - now the expert mixing

Gulab Jamun Rabri has been made by Seema, my very Marwari friend. The entire post was planted on a Lunch invite at their home over a home cooked Marwari meal. Indranimashi (left) has fed me many Luchis in Dubai that have prompted me to make Luchis for the magazine Ahlan! Gourmet and write My Ode To Phulko Luchi! Freny, my Parsi friend introduced me to the Cumin Beetroot Cold Salad. Aunty, as we call her South-Indian Mum-in-law, adds a bit of Bagar/Chaunk/Tadka to the salad to customise it to her traditional South-Indian kitchen. Bagar/Chaunk/Tadka is a kind of tempering or a fried garnish that is commonly used at the end of most Indian cooking. In this salad, Aunty uses a fried garnish of Mustard Seeds and a few pieces of Urad Dal/Black Lentils in white oil.

Gajorer Payesh/Carrot Pudding (below left) had been lovingly cooked by Kakima, my Aunt who had been visiting us for a while. While she left for Kolkata two days before Diwali, she cooked this special Gajorer Payesh/Carrot Pudding and put it in the freezer so that we could have a special dessert on the day of Diwali.

Kakima introduced me to a whole lot up a whole lot of traditional Bengali cooking that even I have not grown up eating. Cooking style differs between regions within Bengal. It also differs within families whose ancestral lineage hails from Bangladesh which before Partition was a part of the Bengal province of the Indian sub-continent. Kakima’s ancestors hail from Faridpur district in Bangladesh and I have been capturing all the dishes, some of them can be termed as Heritage Dishes that I haven’t heard of before. We got a bunch of Tok Palong/Sour Spinach on our visit to the Friday Market in Fujairah that culminated in Locavorism, Friday Market | Tok Palong/Sour Spinach Chutney (below right).

Fooderati Arabia turns 2 with Mango Vanilla Ice-cream!

Finally, I’ve found a bunch of foodies whom I like to call Food Paparazzis (below). This group suffers from the same disorder that I suffer from – OCD (Obsessive Compulsive disorder). The bloggers have similar repeated thoughts (about food), feelings (about blogging), ideas (about why blogging on food give us solace), sensations and obsessions (photographing the food and dissecting it for digestion and the camera). Each blogger in this group is different. We have different styles of writing. We blog on different food matters – some write recipes, some review restaurants, some earn from food, some only spend on food. But one thing is common – we feel that we all belong to the same family – Fooderati Arabia family!

Ideally, I should have finished writing posts on many more women, so that I could include them in today’s post on International Women’s Day, but unfortunately, they are still in the blog queue. The whole day today is dedicated to Li’l Z’s birthday celebrations. And worldwide there are many women who are going to be celebrated today. I just hope that each day such celebrations continue in each and every house for each and every woman – the celebrations starting with the girl foetus, still cocooned in a mother’s sac. And before I sign off, the only post which I regret that I haven’t done before and that’s on Purnimadi’s Biriyani or her Bati Posto. Purnimadi (below) has been cooking for my parents back home in Kolkata for the last 15 years – coming to work every day of her life with a huge smile, come hail or shine, snow or storm – read that as floods, transport strike in Kolkata or the many turmoils and difficulties in her personal life!

Unblogging it all… Ishita


Disclaimer: While you enjoy reading a post with a lot of visuals, please don’t use them as some of them may have been taken from our personal albums, just to make your reading experience more pleasurable. You can see more pictures of my travel and food journey here.


Did you enjoy reading the post? Do leave some love!

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

%d bloggers like this: